Minnesota Facts: Most Professional Hockey Players

Minnesota Facts: Most Professional Hockey Players

This is the first installment in our new “Minnesota Facts” category here at the Open Road Adventures blog. We’ll be writing a lot more like this in the future (perhaps we already have by the time you found this Laughing), so if you like this sort of thing, please subscribe to our blog and we’ll keep them coming!

We thought it would be interesting to find out which U.S. State produces the most U.S. born professional hockey players and, without too much surprise, we found that Minnesota is the birthplace of the largest number of U.S. born professional hockey players (Canada is still far and away the leader in professional hockey player production). These stats include the World Hockey Association (WHA), a professional league that operated in North America from 1972 to 1979.

Historically (up to the 2009-2010 season) there have been 200 Minnesota born players that have reached the pro ranks. Massachusetts came in second with 163 players, and Michigan third with 118 players.

On a per capita comparison (# of professional players to total State population) Minnesota also ranks first, with Massachusetts second, but then comes North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Alaska. The following is a ranking by # of players per State:

U.S. Born NHL/WHA Players by State

State

# of Players by State

Players Per Capita (Per 1000 people)

Minnesota  200 3.80%
Massachusetts  163 2.47%
Michigan  118 1.18%
New York  82 0.42%
Illinois  42 0.33%
Wisconsin  25 0.44%
California  24 0.06%
Connecticut  22 0.63%
Ohio  20 0.17%
Pennsylvania  19 0.15%
Rhode Island  18 1.71%
North Dakota  13 2.01%
Alaska  11 1.57%
Washington  9 0.14%
New Jersey  8 0.09%
Colorado  7 0.14%
Indiana  7 0.11%
Missouri  7 0.12%
New Hampshire  7 0.53%
Maine  5 0.38%
Oregon  5 0.13%
Virginia  4 0.05%
Florida  3 0.02%
Georgia  3 0.03%
Maryland  3 0.05%
Oklahoma  3 0.08%
Alabama  2 0.04%
District of Columbia  2 0.33%
Idaho  2 0.13%
Nebraska  2 0.11%
Texas  2 0.01%
Utah  2 0.07%
Vermont  2 0.32%
Arizona  1 0.02%
Delaware  1 0.11%
Iowa  1 0.03%
North Carolina  1 0.01%
Arkansas  0 0.00%
Hawaii  0 0.00%
Kansas  0 0.00%
Kentucky  0 0.00%
Louisiana  0 0.00%
Mississippi  0 0.00%
Montana  0 0.00%
Nevada  0 0.00%
New Mexico  0 0.00%
South Carolina  0 0.00%
South Dakota  0 0.00%
Tennessee  0 0.00%
West Virginia  0 0.00%
Wyoming  0 0.00%

 

One of the largest reasons that Minnesota is able to produce such a large number of professional hockey players is partially because Minnesota kids can begin playing hockey – at a very young age – on the frozen lakes, ponds, rivers and creeks that dot the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. This commonly referred to as “Pond Hockey”, and it’s not unusual to have kids playing pond hockey by the time they’re age 5 or 6.

Another crucial element in the development of young hockey players is the predominance of organized youth hockey leagues at the community level. This goes a long way in helping kids make the transition from pond hockey into a more organized hockey league so that they continue to develop their skills and interests.

Data Sources: hockey-reference.com, census.gov

Post from Minnesota Fun Facts.

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